Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
To all of those that have fallen in service to our great nation, at home and abroad, we thank you and remember you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

18 and 25

College sweethearts
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As of today we have been married for 18 years and as of this month we have been together for 25 years.

I found this picture of us from the late '80s. It could be as early as fall of 1985, but it is most likely from our senior year. We met the end of our sophomore year and started dating on May 4th, 1985. I can remember the date because Larry asked me out after our college's big spring party, Floralia, which is held on the first Saturday in May. Since then we have pretty much been inseparable.

Not bad for a couple of college sweethearts.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Happiness is a getting a new, geared bike before the start of summer.

The bike is courtesy of eBay and my most favorite bike shop, Bunny Hop.

I don't think I'll be seeing much of him this summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Is Why I Stay Home

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Today was second grade's big field trip to the zoo and as always it was hotter than heck. Normally I would be a chaperon or, at the very least, tag along in my own car. The kids love that I volunteer all the time and with Max's need for digestive enzymes, it makes it a whole lot easier as well.

But not this time, I had other things going on this morning. I couldn't reschedule and I was a wee bit relieved that I wouldn't be out in the 90+ temp. foretasted for today.

Around mid-morning I was back at home, puttering around and collecting trash for a dump run when the phone rang.

It was Rebecca's teacher.

Rebecca was not feeling well. Her face was flushed and she was crying. I instantly new she was suffering from heat exhaustion. Unfortantely Rebecca has inherited my inability to cope with hot weather. I have gotten a bit better over the years, but honestly I wouldn't last very long in the South without ac in the home. I told Rebecca's teacher to take my little petite flower to the gift shop and give her water, after about 15 minutes in the air conditioning she would perk right up. If needed, I could drive over to the zoo and bring her home.

Her teacher thought I probably did not need to come, she would give Rebecca some time to recover and call me back.

Not ten minutes later Mrs. T called back. Rebecca was inconsolable and needed to talk to me. I tried to cheer her up via phone, but it was no use. She wanted to be with her mommy. So I ended up making my first ever "emergency zoo run."

By the time I got there Rebecca was feeling much better and lit up when she saw me. I spent the rest of the day strolling about the zoo with Rebecca.

I'm glad I was able to be there for her and I think just the knowledge I was coming helped her recover, that and the fact I was there for her and not Max.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Artist of the Week: Origami Hats

Nate the hatmaker
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate who ironically wore his Ninja monkey shirt today.

As part of his gifted program, Nate is exposed to different languages and the associated countries throughout the school year. This semester he has been learning about Japan, Japanese, and a little bit about the culture. A few weeks ago they had a Japanese food day and I went in to help dish food out (This was one of the very few times I haven't brought in food. I figured the other parents could pick up the sushi and tempura.) I learned all about proper chop stick etiquette (don't stab the food) and that I have a talent for opening funky Japanese soda bottles. Instead of a cap there was a plunger with a ball blocking the mouth. Very odd and very Japanese. As for the soda... well it tasted like fizzy liquid candy. Not at all my thing, but the kids loved it.

So anyway, the students are learning about Japan and one of the things their lessons is the art origami.

Paper Samurai hats
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Nate came home today from school with the cutest little origami Samurai hat. It was roughly four by three inches, just the right size for a cat. After showing off his creation to me, which has since disappeared, he immediately asked for some newspaper so he could make a people sized hat.

His siblings were all suitably impressed and were very interested in Nate's creation. So much so that in the end Nate made hats for everybody. I even got one. They fit rather well and are a rather fun bit of paper folding.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
In attendance that is, certainly not in picture quality.

Though I will point out in the photographer's defense (i.e. me) it was the evil trifecta of poor indoor lighting, a bit too far away for effective flash, and a fast moving target that pretty much ran up grabbed the award and sprinted back down to his seat.


Anyhoodle, Max was one of three, yes three students, to receive the perfect attendance award at Hebrew school this year. Which I think is pretty darn cool considering he has CF and we had not one but two strains of flu floating around this winter. He had a good winter and I hadn't realized his perfect attendance until I got the letter in the mail about his award.

The rest of our brood were a bit disappointed that they were not recipients, but then again their absences were genuine and not the result of slacker parents. So yay us and a big hooray for Max's good health this past winter.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Take This Waltz

The poem was recommended to me, particularly this interpretation by Leonard Cohen.

As always it's a delight to listen to Mr. Cohen and he truly enjoys this piece.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Geese on the Go

Goose crossing
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
You know you live in a fairly suburban, almost rural, area when traffic regularly comes to a stand still for the local Canada geese population to cross the road.

Every year the geese nest across the road from the pond they like to feed in. It's busy four lane road, but everybody waits for the geese to cross. Remarkably there is almost no honking from either the cars or the geese and in the 10 plus years I've lived here, only a handful of geese have been hit by cars.

I find them to be a bit of a nuisance, but they do add a sort of rustic charm when you see all the little goslings marching along with mom and dad. Heaven knows my kids love seeing the the goslings grow up each year.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Seriously Cute

If you don't already read the Daily Coyote, you should start now.

Shreve Stockton is an excellent photographer with her main focus being the coyote, Charlie, that lives with her. That being said other animals can and do appear, such as this heart meltingly cute lamb.

Seriously, you have to be dead not to be at least a little bit charmed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Only Dog

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Dell is off to a big five show cluster over Memorial Day weekend. I did the drive up to Freddysburg to transfer him to his breeder today and this weekend he'll get handed over to his handler. Majors are hard to come by now and I don't have the time nor money to enter him willy-nilly, so he's in the hands of a professional. Hopefully out of the five shows he'll do some winning and finish his championship.

Meanwhile poor John is an only dog, stuck at home. He'll miss his buddy Dell. They spend a lot of time wrestling, chasing and sleeping together. Although I will point out at times even John gets exasperated by Dell's dimness.

John has discovered he get Dell all hetup to go outside by barking at the door or window. I'll open the door, Dell shoots out and John strolls away.

Dell falls for this every single time.

And sometimes Dell will do it to himself.

They were looking out the window when something caught Dell's eye. He started wildly barking and I swear John rolled his eyes and calmly sat down. Dell rushed to the door, I let him out and John serenely watched Dell careen off into the woods in hot pursuit of... nothing.

I think things are going to be a bit quieter around here for the next week and a half.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Artist of the Week: Spring Recital

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The irrepressible Rebecca is this weeks artist.

This past weekend was the spring piano recital. Sadly, I couldn't go because I had to motivate certain members of our household to finish their respective projects. Instead Rebecca was escorted by her father and got to go to a fancy Chinese restaurant after wards. Which was a pretty good deal for her, special daddy time and her favorite food. But don't feel too bad for the rest of us, I used Five Guys as a carrot to finish up their work.

Anyhoo back to the concert.

Larry was able to record her performance and I will share it with you. She did a wonderful job, playing with confidence and poise. She looks so grown up.

Rebecca keeps muttering about not playing piano, but I think it's all drama. Secretly I think she likes playing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our Three Sons

three boys
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
For the most part I take the bulk of the pictures in my family. Once in awhile Larry is able to liberate out camera and take a few shots himself. Most of the time I'm unaware of his picture taking, it's not until I download them from the camera do I see what goes on without me.

Larry took this picture about two weeks ago. I love the lighting. very warm and soft with a bit of brightness at the edges. I think it's a hoot that the boys arranged themselves by height and color. Even their hair color follows a gradient.

Larry has an excellent eye for noticing great shots like these.

As to what the boys are doing, I have no idea. I think they were creating a very long picture using multiple sheets of paper. Either way it is a treat to see them so obviously engaged and delighted by whatever it is that they are doing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mini Cannon, Big Fun

I found this over at Epic Win FTW. I don't know if it is for real, either way I think it is utterly amazing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photographic Reality

Jake's camera 025
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
For every nice photo of my kids I get a dozen or so of pictures like this.

I actually like this one. It captures that classic bunny ear pose that pretty much everybody has done at some point.

As for the sculpture (it is a multi-element work), it's Barbara Hepworth's "The Family of Man." And of course it's at Pepsico's Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden. For another picture of this sculpture and a few others check out Urban By Design Online.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crunch Time

The school year has just a hair over a month left so it's crunch time for all sorts of big projects.

Nate has been working hard on a big family history project. He had to interview his oldest and most accessible living relative and come up with a display project for family history day. My mom, his Nana, was chosen to be the interview subject. He had a big list of questions and spent almost an hour on the phone with Nana. It was obvious that the two of them were having a great time talking about Nana's life and times. From that interview he was able to assemble a small book about his Nana. I gave him a goodly number of pictures of my mother from when she was an infant up to when Max and Rebecca were new on the scene. As for the project, Nate decided on family heirlooms. We took pictures of 10 or so items (most were too bulky and/or too valuable to be dragged to school) and displayed the captioned pictures in my Grandmother's suitcase.

Both projects turned out quite well and I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera when I went to see the big display at school. Ah well, you'll just have to trust me, I'm just glad I was able to pop on over to the school on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Artist of the Week: Faces

Elizabethian Jake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Master Jake, our Renaissance man.

A few weeks ago his class put on a Shakespearean festival. They had been studying the Taming of the Shrew for the past few months and at the end of the unit the students preformed a sort of ad hock version of the play. The students were divided into small groups and had one scene to memorize and interpret. There was a fair amount of overlap and the cast was continually changing.

Parents were invited to attend the performance and I was able to snag this picture of Jake on stage.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As to his art, well this is yet another sample of last semesters work.

It is a series of faces that are in reality self portraits. A picture was taken of his face and his assignment was to create multiple image portraits. The teacher was looking for quality finished portraits, unique ideas of alterations, the basic features must still be visible, a neat application of pastel, and a precise presentation.

She pretty much got all of that in spades. Her only quible (and I tend to agree) was that the pictures should be closer together on the black paper.

I think Jake did an outstanding job. Pastels can devolve into a big smeary mess, but he was able to maintain control over the medium. He has a very confident hand and was not afraid to really lay the color down. As for the portraits themselves, they are indeed unique. The top has a very bold use of color with clean lines. The middle one is somewhat menacing, but has an amazing amount of dimensionality. However, I think the robot on the bottom is my favorite.

Well done Jake.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hanging Out

hanging out
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
No, Max is not stuck.

He got up there all by himself and he was able to get himself down without tearing his clothes or suffering bodily harm.

Why he was doing it?

Well this is what you do when you are dragged to your sister's soccer practice after you have finished your homework and are bored out of your mind.

At least when you are 8 years old.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gogol Bordello - Pala Tute

A little bit of fun in Romanian no less!

I know they are not saying "llama, llama, llama, Paula Tute," but sure does sound like it.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
To all of you mothers of all stripes out there, I wish you a very Happy Mother's day.

I got to loll about in bed, get some lovely cards and presents (including the handmade tray from Jake), have some time alone, and lots and lots of hugs.

Even the weather was a gift, sunny and mild. Perfect weather for having ice cream outside at our local ice cream stand. It was a lovely day.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Feeling Handy

I like the fact that I'm willing to take a crack at minor repairs, a good thing considering we are home owners.

I've patched a hole in the wall, replaced a light fixture, and replaced all manner of belts on our vacuum cleaner. My latest accomplishment was replacing the blades on our lawn tractor. According to out mower repair guy the mowing deck was not off kilter (when I mowed the left side of the swatch would be significantly lower than the right), instead the right blade was bent. He would have been happy to do the job, but he didn't stock the mulching blades in the right size on his truck and he couldn't come back until next week. He asked if I was up to the job and I was. Part description in hand I ordered the new blades from the dealer and picked them up on Wednesday.

Nigh on 9 years ago I had converted the tractor into a mulching mower, so I knew I was up to the task. The hardest part would be wrestling the mower deck around because it is a fairly heavy chunk of steel. The only catch was I needed to find the service manual. After a bit of digging I found it and then I was ready to go.

The whole process went surprisingly smoothly. A successfully avoided dropping anything heavy on my appendages and I didn't break anything on the mower. It did, however, take a fair amount of effort to loosen the bolts holding the blades in place. In the end I had to kick the handle of my socket wrench to get the bolts undone. Then it was full steam ahead.

Once the blades were on I had to wrestle the mowing deck back in place. Things weren't as smooth at first. It was hard lining up everything and on the first go around I skipped an important step. Luckily it was no big deal to try again.

So now I have a properly equipped mower and it even works. Not a bad day's work.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Artist of the Week: Wire

Great Grandma and Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Nate is this week's artist.

I decided to go way back to spring 2001 (I think) for Nate's profile picture. Nate has been doing a family history project at school and as a result we have been going through a lot of old photos. I came across this particular photo of Nate with his Great Grandma and I just had to share it.

I love the obvious delight in both of their faces. Nate was a little unsure at first with G. Grandma, but as you can plainly see he did come around in the end.

And just look at how utterly adorable he was. Nate is still a cute boy, but he looks so huggable in this picture, at at all the wiry athlete he has become.

lacrosse back
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for this week's art it is of a much more recent date. and is wiry like Nate is now.

Nate, like his sister, had a piece of art selected for the school district's Arts and Sciences festival. It is a wire sculpture of a lacrosse player holding his stick. I like how he used two different colors for the sculpture, it makes it far easier to understand what you are looking at. Nate did a nice job creating the firgure and bending it into just the right pose.

If any of y'all are interested in a front view of the player, click on through the picture to my Flickr photo sets. There are aspects that are better in front view than in the back view depicted here, but there was a bit too much going on the background and the wire figure gets lost in the shuffle.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dell's Big Weekend

Dell and his ribbons
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The Delly belly had a busy weekend.

Friday late afternoon I met up with his breeder while she was on her way to a dog show over in Chesapeake, VA. I had a full weekend so I couldn't bring himself, which was fine by me. Diane and her daughter (who by the way is a far, far better handler than I ever could be) were going and it was easy enough for them to meet up with me on the way to the show.

Dell was entered both days and as you can see he got lots and lots of pretty ribbons.

On Saturday he got first in his class, winner's dog (best of the winners in his gender), best of winners (best class dog of both sexes), best of opposite sex. There was also a bred by exhibitor competition and her garnered best of variety (smooth dachshund) and went onto group competition and got a group 4 (fourth place in the hound group- the big silver rosette).

On Sunday he did even better. Not only was he best of winners, but he got best of variety! I think he defeated a special (finished champion) and therefor picked up an extra point.

So now all Dell needs are his two majors and then he'll become a champion. Way to go Dell!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Because Sometimes You Need a Giant Piñata

Cinco de Mayo comes a few days early.

It's not the most exciting footage, but you do get to see the candy pour out of the piñata. The whole thing is absurd. I still have no interest in going on a cruise, but I do like this particular stunt.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Last Paper

For the past three years Jake and I have had been on a mission to find interesting professional level musical performances that are ideally free. Part of his band grade has been based on papers (about one per quarter) written on outside activities, hence all the concert going.

Fortunately we live near Richmond which has a thriving arts scene and two universities. Virginia Commonwealth University has been our go to source for free concerts. We have discovered that at VCU there is a very good Jazz program and there are all sorts of Jazz concerts to attend. Jake has a marked fondness for Jazz so the concerts were generally a positive experience.

As for low points, I would have to say the Nutcracker was it. I was scrambling to find something at the end of the semester and found out the hard way that there is almost nothing between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the end I had to shell out cash for what turned out to be decent seats for the Nutcracker. Jake really did not want to be there, but he was stuck. It was a good production (not as good as the NY City Ballet I grew up with, however not many are) and I tried to get him interested... In the end he endured it and banged out a paper.

Since then we kept our eyes open and discovered the Richmond Folk Festival (free!), musical events at area synagogues (reasonably priced), and University of Richmond (free with the bonus of parking and a gorgeous campus). And today for his last middle school band paper the Greater Richmond Children's Choir.

Originally we were going to attend a senior guitar recital at VCU, but I saw a blurb about GRCC in the Richmond Times Dispatch. We hadn't attended any choir performances and this one was reputed to be quite good. Two years ago Jake would have dismissed this out of hand, but he has learned since not to be so choosy. We both thought it would be a nice change of pace and decided to check them out.

GRCC was outstanding.

They have four different choruses ranging from the beginning level Treble chorus, to the more experienced Concert Choir, then the Pro Arte Choir (unchanged voices), the Cavalieri Choir (changed voices and male only), and the Cantare Choir (Pro Arte combined with Cavalieri). They did a broad range of music from Mozart and Bach, to gospel, and Ugandan folk music. There were some moments that were absolutely breath taking. I'm so glad I found out about the performance in time for us to attend.

It has been a chore tracking down suitable performances, but it was been well worth the effort.